Dead Ethernet Port

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  • Updated 7 months ago
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Two days ago I turned on my radio and it never showed up in SSDR. I did a little troubleshooting and found I had no lights on the ethernet port. I removed power, did a reset and the ethernet port on the radio remained dark. I tried different known working cables and another switch and it still was dead. I opened a trouble ticket and they immediately sent me an RMA. I sent the radio out yesterday but I'm a little worried by this line in the RMA.

Due to a high service workload our estimated lead time for in-warranty repairs is approximately 4 business weeks. Out of warranty products may take longer to repair.

Naturally mine is out of warranty. Hope it's back for CQWW...

Does anyone know if the Ethernet on the radio is a separate module or is it integrated into one of the main boards? If separate I might have tried changing it myself.

Jon...kf2e
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Jon - KF2E

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Posted 2 years ago

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Photo of Al / NN4ZZ

Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Jon,
Do you have any suspicions regarding why the ethernet port failed (lightning surge, power surge, etc)?     I'm also curious about whether it is field serviceable (i.e. a daughter board) although for some reason I think it is not.   FRS can give us the official answer on that.  

Living in the Southeast we get a lot of lightning storms so I added a fiber link since any ethernet interface can be a weak point.  Getting the radio repaired could take a while and would hate to be down at the wrong time.   Info on my fiber setup here:

http://www.nn4zz.com/FLEX6700.htm#Ethernet_Lightning_Protection

As more folks operate remotely with SmartLink this could be good information.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
SSDR / DAX / CAT/ 6700 -  V 1.10.16
Win10
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Mark - WS7M

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Al,

I like that fiber solution.  I'm gonna do something similar.
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Phil - WG5D

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A fiber connection is not a bad idea - I took a lightning strike once that came in through A DSL line and it took out the modem, a couple of switches and the ethernet interface on a server. It took a few days to recover from that one :/
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K1UO - Larry

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would such a fiber solution be worth it at my remote where there is fiber to the home and it terminates in a modem 5 ft away from the radio and a short jumper to an 8 port ethernet switch when all peripherals are connected?  Or should I also be considering backfeed paths through the 8 port switch, like the smart antenna switch for example, that might get into the radio ethernet port.
(Edited)
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Phil - WG5D

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I think the concept is to isolate the cat5 connection electrically to keep voltage spikes from making it to the radio. This could be done with a couple of cat5(ethernet)-to-fiber media converters and a fiber patch cable. You can get all the pieces and parts (2 media converters and a patch cable on Amazon for about $70 for 10/100 - higher if you want a gigabit connection. 
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Larry,
If you radio is connected to the switch with a copper jumper cable I  believe you have to consider all of the other jumper cables that are connected to the switch as possible sources of a surge.  If any of those other devices are located far way (e.g. 100 feet or more from the switch)  the cable can act as an antenna and pick up the surge from a nearby lightning strike.  The surge can find its way back through the switch to the radio.  If any of the connected devices like an antenna switch, are also exposed to a surge from external sources that is also a risk.  It also helps if all of those other connected devices (like a PC etc) as well as the fiber converters power supply are on a UPS for some additional protection from power line surges. 

In my case the switch in my radio room only has the radio, PC and printer connected,  all are close to the switch, and all are on a UPS.   I have hundreds of feet of other ethernet cables in the house but they all go back to the server room and are on the other side of the fiber link.

An effective way to protect the radio ethernet port is to use 2 "fiber medial converter" boxes and a short length of fiber.  So there would be a copper jumper from the switch to the first converter, a fiber jumper to the second converter, and a short copper jumper from the second converter to the radio.   The cost would be about $100.  There are a number of media converters but this is the one I've been using.  



And it's worth noting that even with all of the precautions, if you have a direct hit or very close strike there can still be damage. 

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
SSDR / DAX / CAT/ 6700 -  V 1.10.16
Win10
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James Skala

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Dang great idea.  Thanks for that info.  I have a 440 DMR repeater at the base of the tower that is Ethernet connected into the house.  I'm going to isolate each leg of the network between cable modem, switches and DMR.  I was going down the road of Ethernet surge protection, but the isolation is even better.  Once again thanks for the idea :)
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Steve K9ZW, Elmer

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https://k9zw.wordpress.com/2017/05/25...

Bought most of the stuff off Amazon.

73

Steve
K9ZW
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K1UO - Larry

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Food for thought...  thanks Al for the info.
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Michael Coslo

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Al, you have officially become my favorite person of the week! I'll be installing one of these at my mountaintop station stat.
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Jon - KF2E

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I doubt I will ever know what happened to my ethernet port but I can say that if it was a surge it didn't damage anything else. 

Jon...kf2e
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Jon,
Agree, unless you were there and could associate a lightning strike or power surge with the failure it is hard to know.   I have had several cases of close by lightning strikes  where the only damage was a single ethernet card in a PC or a hub/switch.    

When I lived in Florida we had a direct strike on my tower that was right outside the shack.  The damage was extensive but that is another story.

Let us know what you find out about the daughter board question.  Or it if you find out what parts are replaced it might still be reasonable to do that in the field after the warranty is expired.   

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
SSDR / DAX / CAT/ 6700 -  V 1.10.16
Win10
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Jon - KF2E

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Is there any chance someone from Flex could answer my original question? Is the Ethernet integrated into one of the main boards or is it a separate module?

Thanks,

Jon...kf2e
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Rich McCabe

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Thats a good question and looking forward to an answer. I have only been a Flex user for about 3 years but in my time I don't recall seeing a single case where a user was able to repair a radio with Flex supplied parts. This includes simple parts like fans.

The ATU on a 6300 would be an easy swap though since its designed as an add-on item.

I should consider some type of protection. Being an IT guy about 90% of all the issues I see from storms seem to end up on the Ethernet.
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Rich,
Same experience here...ethernet ports are usually the first to go with lightning.  I used to live in St Pete, FL (lightning capital of the US) and now Atlanta GA, another high risk area.  So No unattended remote for me.  That's one big advantage of living in CA or other parts of the west coast, practically no lightning at all. 

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
SSDR / DAX / CAT/ 6700 -  V 1.10.16
Win10

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Phil - WG5D

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I am installing a fiber link this week :)
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Eric - KE5DTO, Official Rep

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Official Response
The ethernet connector is on the main TRX board (transceiver board).  Essentially the main board in the radio.
(Edited)
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Mark - N7MHB

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Remember you still have the coax to worry about.  Fiber does not isolate everything.
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Rich McCabe

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Everything for that matter. Power line, speaker wire, etc. 
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Jon - KF2E

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Here is the latest update on my radio. Not sounding like I will be back on the air soon.

Jon...kf2e

Your product shipped in under RMA number ##### was received by FlexRadio Systems.

It has been transferred to the Service and Repair department and placed in the appropriate repair queue. At this time we do not have an ETA on when the repair of your product will be completed. 
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Al / NN4ZZ

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I just saw this in another post.  Lightning damage is the number 1 failure seen in the shop.  Not surprised but first time I've seen it mentioned.  I asked Steve for more info on the damage....it will be interesting to see where the ethernet ports are on the list if he replies.  








Link to fan error post:  

https://community.flexradio.com/flexradio/topics/error-fpga-fan-speed?topic-reply-list%5Bsettings%5D...



Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
SSDR / DAX / CAT/ 6700 -  V 1.10.16
Win10
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Tim - W4TME, Customer Experience Manager

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Lightning is a fickle beast.  it is an equal opportunity stressor and destroyer of components.  Other than the most common failure is blown ESD diodes, we really are not going to comment on other failure scenarios. 

If you want to protect your Ethernet port, use common isolation techniques line fiber interconnects.
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Tim,
I assume the ESD diode failures happen when folks that leave their antennas connected when not in use (or during remote operation.)

I have the fiber link for the ethernet and am curious about whether you are seeing any USB port failures. In the other thread I asked Steve whether he thought my current mitigations are adequate and if he had any other thoughts. I have the USB devices on a UPS to address the power surges and use a USB hub between the radio and the devices for additional isolation.

Given the USB feature is new there may not be a lot of failure data yet but it would be good to know and prevent it. I was asked about USB Protection and wanted to see if FRS agreed with my advice.

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ
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Justin - KL2D

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I just experienced exactly what John reported about a year ago, anyone else have a similar experience or any info they can share?

I did some troubleshooting, trying resets, complete power downs of all equipment, different cables, direct connect to PC, edit of assigned IP and attempt to assign via DHCP. Nothing. The activity lights on the radio's ethernet port and the switch ethernet port are dead. PC tells me that there is no device at the end of the cable, and will report if I attach any ethernet device to the cable even if it doesn't actually make a valid network connection. 

Everything else on the radio appears to be functioning normally, as best I can tell with no SSDR connection. Powers up, completes calibration cycle, LDPA cycles on and off during power up (which is normal), and I get blue GPS lock light. 

I sent John an email hoping he could shed some light on what the eventual outcome was for him.

Thanks!

Justin
KL2D
(Edited)